At WiseGEEK, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.
Aloe vera is a succulent plant containing thick, white liquid which is commonly used for skin conditions and irritations such as psoriasis, wounds, burns and rashes. Studies researching the benefits of aloe vera for the skin show a significant improvement in many of these conditions, yet conflicting data does exist. Most alternative health practitioners attribute the health effects of aloe vera for the skin to its anti-inflammatory properties. When applied topically, this may help speed the healing of different skin conditions, such as first-degree burns or insect bites, by decreasing inflammation.
The use of aloe vera for the skin is popular among alternative health enthusiasts, and is commonly used for skin disorders and minor burns and wounds. It has been documented that aloe vera gel can decrease the healing time needed for wounds such as scrapes or cuts and can even help with minor burns. Conflicting data exists on the health effects of aloe vera for the skin relating to burns, but most of the research indicates its helpful and healing benefits. Since aloe vera can act as a moisturizer and barrier, it may be helpful in applying to cuts to prevent any bacteria from entering a wound.
There is some research on aloe vera suggesting its possible role in alleviating symptoms of psoriasis and in preventing acne. Many experts believe that the decrease in redness and heat associated with acne and psoriasis is caused by the natural anti-inflammatory properties available in the plant. Due to this information, many beauty product manufacturers containing aloe vera often boast these claims on their product labeling to boost sales. Although aloe vera for the skin does show promise in alleviating certain aspects of these skin conditions, it has yet to be proven that it can clear these conditions completely.
Applying aloe vera to the skin may be helpful in providing the skin with valuable antioxidants, like vitamin C and vitamin A. Antioxidants can help fight free radical damage associated with environmental and dietary factors, which may decrease the signs of physical aging. This benefit is not solely dependent on the use of aloe vera, as many natural products like green tea or other botanicals contain many different antioxidants. The antifungal and antibacterial properties available in aloe vera may also be helpful in inhibiting bacterial skin infections such as boils or ringworm.